Jenny Slate Apologizes for Voicing a Black Character, Quits 'Big Mouth' + Kristen Bell Quits 'Central Park'

Voice actress Jenny Slate, along with the creators of the hit Netflix series ‘Big Mouth,’ are paying attention to conversations surrounding privilege and diversity.

For that reason, Jenny is quitting her role as the biracial ‘Missy’ so that she may be voiced by a Black woman.

Creator Nick Kroll took to social media to explain the decision.

“We are proud of the representation Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy’s character as we cast a new Black actor to play her,” the statement reads. 

Jenny Slate took to Instagram to apologize and explain that she felt connected to Missy because she is Jewish like the character’s mother, but she now realizes that there’s an aspect of the character that she can’t access despite being a great voice actress. 

“At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I,” she wrote. “But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”

Not long after Nick’s announcement, it was announced that Kristen Bell would no longer voice Molly, a mixed-race character on Apple TV+’s animated series Central Park.

The show confirmed the news in an Instagram post, stating Kristen would take on a new role as they search for a replacement.

“Kristen Bell is an extraordinarily talented actress who joined the cast of Central Park from nearly the first day of the show’s development – before there was even a character for her to play – and she has since delivered a funny, heartfelt, and beautiful performance,” the show’s creative team wrote. “But after reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right – to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her. Kristen will continue to be a part of the heart of the show in a new role but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly.

Both of these shows made space for Black women without being embroiled in controversy. We love to see it.


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